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Thread: Nicolas Gombert

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    Default Nicolas Gombert

    "With Gombert, the contrapuntal and imitative techniques of the Franco-Flemish composers that came after Josquin reached their zenith, with the generation that followed adopting a slightly more syllabic setting of texts, in accord with the strictures of the Catholic Church's Council of Trent (1545-63) that required composers to set words so that they would be more clearly understandable at all times." (Found on the web.)

    I've been really enjoying Peter Philips's recording of the the last four magnificats today. Recommended. Are there other interpretations worth pursuing? And are the magnificats his masterpiece?

    Was Gombert's polyphony a direct influence on instrumental music? That's why I started listening - I heard someone suggest he was an influence on Hieronymus Praetorius, but no evidence was forthcoming. I'll listen to some of H, Praet's magnificats later this evening, while the Gombert is fresh in my mind.

    I can see no Gombert transcriptions for keyboard, which suggests the answer is no, he didn't influence Cabezon, H Praetorius, Titelouze etc. Would they have even known of his existence?

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    Two very fine Gobert motet recordings which I've been enjoying, the one by The Brabant Ensemble and the third Gombert recording by The Sound and the Fury. Does anyone know how I can hear the other two by The Sound and the Fury?

    The big question is what to make of Beauty farm, with their big bass up sound. I'm not sure what to make of them.

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    Check out Henry's Eight, especially the album with "Media vita". I think that's Gombert's greatest motet, and Henry's Eight are light years ahead of the other groups that have attempted this motet.

    I'm also a fan of "Je prens congie", as sung by the Huelgas Ensemble:



    Gombert has a lot of passing dissonances that make the music sound less pretty than Palestrina or even Josquin and other earlier music. On the other hand, due to his way with dissonance, he has more freedom to spin his concurrent melodies the way he wants. And unlike in Josquin, the singers are singing nearly all the time, so it's really something that I imagine is a lot of fun to sing.

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    I listened again to some of Beauty farm.

    The recording is closely miked and loud. The sound they make together has a massive bass, Hilliard made a sound a bit like this for Gombert. They sing forth in a hot, passionate, extrovert way. Phrasing is fluid. Balances are voix égales.

    In the notes they pride themselves on having created editions which reveal for the first time Gombert dissonances in an authentic way. The dissonances sometimes seem less striking than with The Sound and the Fury certainly, and with Henry's Eight possibly, both of whom have recorded some of the same motets.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Nov-26-2015 at 07:36.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chordalrock View Post
    Check out Henry's Eight, especially the album with "Media vita". I think that's Gombert's greatest motet, and Henry's Eight are light years ahead of the other groups that have attempted this motet.
    Has anyone else recorded Media Vita apart from Hilliard?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    Has anyone else recorded Media Vita apart from Hilliard?
    Oxford Camerata and Huelgas Ensemble come to mind. So, four different recordings. I've heard these all, and none of them really make much of an impression on me other than Henry's Eight.

    It would be interesting to hear how Beauty Farm would do it. I like that they use leading tones more often than other groups, and of course the sound is close and great, and they have some great moments with regards to how they shape and balance some passages, such as the passage that begins at 1:10 in "Peccata mea" if you compare it with how the Sound and the Fury do it. Beauty Farm is unique and an absolute must in Gombert, or Renaissance sacred music in general, IMO. I'm greatly looking forward to their upcoming Ockeghem album.

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    Yes, we'll I don't like the close sound on the Beauty Farm recording, but fortunately it's not enough to stop me appreciating the music making.

    Anyway, my real reason for posting is to say that I've been listening to three Gombert motets sung by the Egidius Kwartet, which I found on spotify, on a CD called Leal Amour. Worth checking out I would say. All three new to me.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Dec-03-2015 at 18:28.

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    I've finally had a chance to listen to The sound and the Fury sing M. Sur tous regrets. It feels as though there is dissonance everywhere and always. I don't find it a problem to listen to at all, they somehow make the music sound alive. By way of contrast I listened to Henry's 8 singing M. tempore paschali and it's like it's by a different composer!

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    Hey Mandryka, you might like Beauty Farm's second Gombert album more ("coming soon"), the recording seems more churchy:

    https://soundcloud.com/frabernardo/gombert-beatus-vir

    Not sure what happened to the other samples, they were there yesterday, including my favorite, "Media vita" (which had a faster tempo than usual, not sure what to make of that).

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    Beauty Farm II is wonderful.

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